READY TO WORK | FUSO-Fuso is geared up to start work with pre-bodied options

Warren Caves finds that Fuso is geared up to start work with pre-bodied options.

Fuso plans to help customers to “hit the ground running “with its Built Ready range of pre-bodied trucks, centred around its hard-working Canter and larger Fighter models.

As dependable as a pair of old boots, Fuso’s Canter range has been a common sight on Australian roads since the early 1980s. The company plans to make new truck purchases a lot easier with a selected range of trucks wearing the Canter and Fighter badges, available for immediate delivery complete with work-ready bodies.

“Fuso wants to make it easier for our customers to do business, so we have developed the Built Ready range that covers a wide range of applications, “Fuso Director Justin Whitford said.

“We know that our customers would rather be out there getting the job done, rather than waiting for a body to be built up”.

At the invitation of Fuso Trucks, PowerTorque attended an introduction and drive day in Canberra to view and test drive the available range of Built Ready options.

Delivery’s focus starts at the lighter end of the weight segment with the Canter range, deferring the in-depth analysis of the larger Fighter models to its sister magazine PowerTorque.

The Canter range includes five body- and two cab-width variants for multiple applications. Two tipper-bodied trucks are included in the Built Ready range – the 615 City Cab and the 815 Wide Cab.

The 615 City Cab Tipper, as the name suggests, features a narrow cab and tipper body for tight site access and would ideally suit small landscape operators or council park and garden types of work. It features a two cubic-metre capacity tray.

The 615 tipper is the only Japanese tipper model to come with an integrated strengthened box-chassis section to support the tipper and mechanism rather than a separate sub-frame. This construction technique reduces weight and subsequently gives the little 615 a GVM of 6 tonnes, an increase in payload of an additional 500 kg. All Canter models can be downgraded to 4.5 tonnes GVM to allow the trucks to be driven on a standard car licence.

The 615 city-friendly tipper is fitted with the 4P10 3.0-litre, four-cylinder engine with 147 hp (110 kW) of power and 370 Nm of torque and is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed Duonic automated transmission. A limited slip differential is standard equipment for both tipper variants, and reversing cameras are standard across the range.

The larger 815 Wide Cab tipper has recently received a range of engineering upgrades to enable its GVM to be increased to 7.5 tonnes, with the GCM also increasing to a useful 11 tonnes, up from the previous 10 tonnes GCM. By increasing the length of the body to 3150mm, a cubic capacity increase over previous models of 14 percent has been achieved, giving a 2.4 cubic metre capacity, further boosting productivity. It’s available with a five-speed manual transmission or Fuso’s quick-shifting Duonic, automated DCT.

Both the Canter Built Ready tipper models are fitted with their respective bodies direct from the factory in Japan and come complete with a Fuso manufacturer’s warranty of five-years or 200,000 km, whichever comes first.

The remainder of the Built-Ready range is fitted with bodies manufactured by specifically selected Australian body builders.

The 515 Canter is available with three body choices to suit popular applications. All feature the 4P10 four-cylinder engine and the driveline runs on a standard suspension design of front independent double wishbone with coil spring and rear parabolic leaf springs.

For the cool kids, there is the refrigerated 515 Canter City Cab. This fridge/ freezer v500 is Thermo-King equipped with a 240-volt plug-in option for stand-by, and is capable of operating down to minus-20 degrees Celsius.

The refrigerated bodies are manufactured with white styrene sandwich walls and roof, with non-slip fibreglass over a 17mm CD ply floor. Internal LED lighting, grab handles and fold=out steps keep the workplace bright, safe and functional, while cold air curtains on the side and rear doors maintain product delivery temperatures when unloading.

Needing only a standard car licence, the 515 Canter Wide Cab with alloy tray is heavily targeted toward the tradie sector. Features include a four-tonne rated floor, two-piece drop-sides, 65mm removeable ladder racks with load pins and 40mm rope rails with integrated front step.

The 515 alloy tray Canter is available with a five-speed manual transmission or the six-speed Duonic automated transmission.

The Canter Wide Cab alloy tray model tested was the five-speed manual version which performed well, and I particularly like the dash-mounted gear shift positioning, although the gear changes seemed a bit notchy if rushed. The wheelbase is 3400mm and the little truck had an amazing turning circle provided by the rack-and-pinion steering configuration.

In Pantech guise, the Built- Ready range includes the 515-Wide Cab Canter. This comes with the six-speed Duonic automated manual transmission and is fitted with a 4319mm-long, 2205mm-wide by 2135mm-tall body of 20mm thick fibreglass-reinforced walls, an aluminium roof and internal tie-down rails. The floor is 3 mm chequer plate and at the rear sits a 600 kg Dhollhandia tuck-away tailgate loader.

The 515 Pantech is clearly aimed at rental fleets, with a spec that excludes a manual transmission option, standardising on the Duonic automated manual and with ratings nudging 4500kg GVM, plus the obvious attraction of car licence compatibility.

All Canter models tested come standard with a touch-screen multimedia system that includes satellite navigation with three-years of free map upgrades. The multimedia screen also gives a clear view of the reversing path, a feature particularly handy for rental fleets. Dual airbags are also included.

The independent front suspension fitted to the Canter (with the exception of the tippers) provided good road feel and increased comfort over traditional leaf spring systems.

More and more I am finding myself advocating the use of fully automatic fluid transmissions, or AMT (perhaps I’m just getting lazy in my old age), and in the main I guess it depends on the work being carried out. With the target market of the Fuso Built-Ready range most likely to be operated within city environs, I was pleased with the performance of the AMTs and the automatics, and these would be my choice.

In the fast-paced transport game, contracts and opportunities can reveal themselves at any given moment, sometimes without much notice. This type of scenario may drive the need to secure equipment rapidly or risk getting left behind. The Built Ready range from Fuso goes a long way to help with these situations, offering trucks of proven reliability fitted with work-ready bodies to cater for some of the commonly operated configurations in the small- to medium-duty market.

Adding  to the ease and speed of equipment purchase made available by the Built Ready range is the bumper-to-bumper manufacturer warranty included. Other advantages such as long 30,000km service intervals help to keep costs down.

That meeting with the accountant alerting you to the fact that you’ve had a GOOD year, may make the idea of purchasing a new, work-ready truck highly appealing prior to the end of the financial year.

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